What do you want? Blood? Lyn Paul is ready to give it to you.
The former New Seeker has sweated blood over the role of the matriarch in Willy Russell’s definitive story of a tale of two brothers.
Russell himself calls it a musical for people who don’t like musicals.
Certainly the enduring appeal of Blood Brothers - which returns to the Opera House from Tuesday to Saturday proves blood is indeed thicker than the flimsy plots of many musicals.
It’s not just a milestone in British musicals but a touchstone to many issues which resonate to this day.
The intense, beautifully crafted show has touched the hearts and minds of millions.
It’s two and a half years since I last did it, so yes, it is like greeting an old friend, absolutely
Not bad for a man who left school at 15 to become a hairdresser - before returning to education and becoming a teacher.
Lyn’s reprising a role which has become almost second nature to her since 1997, like stepping into a skin she shed in the final West End performances at the Phoenix Theatre in 2012.
Given that she did just that in January for the 2016 tour - how is she feeling now?
“It’s two and a half years since I last did it, so yes, it is like greeting an old friend, absolutely – but terrifying at the same time. Mrs J is just me. Everything that she’s going through I feel, the way Willy’s (Russell) written it is so easy to get over to an audience as it’s actually written as you would speak. This is so perfectly written and so easy, it just flows. I can relate to her so well being a Northern mum and having gone through a lot of struggles in my life, lots of lows.”
She’s been hailed the definitive Mrs Johnstone. It’s all a far cry from the New Seekers heyday back in the early 1970s.
She was the featured vocalist on their 1972 Eurovision Song Contest entry, ‘Beg, Steal or Borrow’, in which they came second and lead vocalist on the 1974 number-one hit ‘You Won’t Find Another Fool Like Me’. She also helped to teach the world to sing, adapted from an advertising jingle for Coca-Cola.
Even in these sugar taxed days the song remains one of 100 best selling singles in the UK.
“We recorded the advert first for Coca Cola and then everybody said, “wow, that’s a fantastic song” although we looked at each other and said “what?” Everybody turned out to be right.”